The Lake Baikal area is located in the East Siberia and includes two regions of Russian Federation: Irkutsk Region (West coast of the Lake Baikal) and Republic Buryatia (East coast). In the South the Lake Baikal area borders on Mongolia, in the West, East and North – on different regions of Russia (Republic of Tuva and Krasnoyarsk Territory in the West, Transbaikal Territory in the East, Republic Yakutia in the North). Climate of the Lake Baikal area is extreme continental with short hot summer and long frosty winter. Virgin nature of the area is very diverse: endless steppes, alpine meadows, taiga. The Lake Baikal is unique natural phenomenon of our planet. It is the deepest lake in the world and it is estimated to contain one-fifth of all the Earth’s surface fresh water.
Originally populated by different ancient peoples the Lake Baikal was conquered by Mongols in the early XIII c.. After disintegration of the Mongol Empire territory of the Lake Baikal was a part of different Mongolian states changing each other. Russian colonization of the area began since mid-XVII c. Founded in 1660s the main cities of the Baikal area Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude (originally Nizhneudinsk) were important transit points of the Great Tea Road connecting Siberian and European parts of Russia with Mongolia and China and soon the both cities became large merchant centers. Built in the end of the XIX-early XX cc. Transsiberian Rail Road connected the Baikal area with Russian Far East.
Unique ecologic system of the Lake Baikal, rich history and culture of Russians, Buryats and other peoples populating this area became it very popular tourist destination. You can see here Buddhist temples, nomad’s tents, meet original shamans. Virgin nature of the region provides tourists with great possibilities for eco tourism: horse riding, hiking, trekking, rafting, fishing.